Antifreeze mystery - it is disappearing - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-01-2020, 06:37 AM Thread Starter
msrynear
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Antifreeze mystery - it is disappearing

I have searched (and searched) and can't readily find anyone that has had this same problem - similar maybe, but not quite the same. For at least 5 years (yes, I know, I should have never let it go this long), my '03 4L has run totally fine during the winters. During the summers, I have to regularly add coolant to the overflow bottle. About two years ago on hot days, I would come home and you could hear it 'boiling' in the radiator. I did a flush/fill, but I would still have to add coolant to the overflow bottle, and again on hot days you could hear it 'boiling'. Winter was fine again, then this spring already I am having to add coolant to the overflow bottle weekly, and it is finally 'boiling' on a regular basis, so I want to fix it. The mystery (to me) is that I never see any antifreeze leaking - not while running, not when it is 'boiling', never. Pull it in a clean garage after a long ride and not one drop.

Where is all the antifreeze going that I put in the overflow bottle? PS bottle seems fine, I don't think it is leaking out of there, and whenever I check the fluid after the Jeep has sat overnight, if there is some still in the bottle, the radiator is full to the brim.

I am going to order a new Mopar radiator, and will probably do the thermostat at the same time. Do you think that will fix my problem? And any ideas where you think the antifreeze has been going all this time?


'03 Wrangler X
4.0L, 5 spd manual
2" lift, 31x10.5x15's
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-01-2020, 07:12 AM
Strangers
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You might want to also replace the water pump, after all you are right there and it will be so much easier. If money isn't an issue do the radiator hoses with new clamps and of course the belt. But first consider this.....
As far as the disappearing coolant....have you "sniffed" the radiator for CO2s? possibly done a cooling system pressure test? removed the oil fill cap and used a good flashlight to look inside the valve cover for the dreaded cracked cylinder head, usually it will look "cleaner" near a possible crack. My 00 was cracked between cylinders 3 and 4 so I replaced it when in all reality I should have done what I eventually had to do anyways. Replaced everything from the radiator to the clutch, oil pan to the throttle body.

Me, Banditt, Tippie and ole Heep a long!
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-01-2020, 08:00 AM
TheBoogieman
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Before needlessly replacing everything, I would do a good chemical flush of the whole system. I always use Blue Devil and run it with water for 6-8 hours total driving.

p.s. If there's no leaks and it's not in the oil or coming out of a bad radiator cap, it's burning it off. My 00' had the exact same symptoms and had a cracked head. Your 03' isn't prone to that. Clean the system and buy a Stant radiator cap before wasting money on anything else way more expensive.
That's just my opinion FWIW.
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-01-2020, 08:17 AM
jkp
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It's boiling because you have a bad radiator cap, assuming the temp gauge reading is normal.

It's probably boiling enough out at times to overflow the bottle.

If the rad is old, expect it to fail soon after you replace the cap and bring pressures back up to normal.

'92 Islander
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-01-2020, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
msrynear
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you guys are awesome - always have loved this forum! Thanks I think I will go radiator flush/new cap, then radiator/hoses/thermostat/water pump if that doesn't work. All or none! Thanks again... (but others please feel free to keep responding if you have ideas/thoughts, I will take any/all).

Stay safe.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-01-2020, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msrynear View Post
you guys are awesome - always have loved this forum! Thanks I think I will go radiator flush/new cap, then radiator/hoses/thermostat/water pump if that doesn't work. All or none! Thanks again... (but others please feel free to keep responding if you have ideas/thoughts, I will take any/all).

Stay safe.
Post up your results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
TheBoogieman is a jerk.
GOT IT BACK on 6/17. 03' Rubicon/Zone 4.25" combo lift with 4" lift coils up front/Zone hydro shocks/5.13 gears/35" Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 tires/Black Magic brakes. Jeep #17 & 19.
SOLD 99' XJ /4.0L-AW4/ 5.5" lift / 33" DC tires.
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-01-2020, 06:04 PM
ibikee
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Had a Silverado with a 350 in it that did the same exact thing. Once I heard some gurgling under the hood I knew to add some antifreeze. Most of the time I kept a close eye and added as needed. The fix for that was replacing the intake gasket. Completely different motor and design, but thought Id throw some confusion in there. Maybe a slight head gasket leak?
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-02-2020, 07:56 AM
ParaRigger
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My Jeep had the same symptoms as yours. I did a flush and new coolant, new hoses, new thermostat, same thing. A new radiator cap fixed it.
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-02-2020, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
msrynear
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Thanks - I'll be doing the flush today or tomorrow and will report back.

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post #10 of 11 Old 06-02-2020, 10:32 AM
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I would try just changing the cap first, you will know then if that fixes your issue. It’s by far the cheapest and easiest thing to do first. Especially if you’ve already been refilling your radiator once a week with new coolant.
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-04-2020, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
msrynear
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OK did the flush Tuesday night, and put on a new Stant rad cap. The old fluid looked good (which is a good thing) - I had flushed it last September, so no surprise, but wanted to do it right this time with BlueDevil. Drove it around 4+ hours with the BlueDevil in, then flushed again, added the antifreeze.... well we are now two days in with temps in the 80's, a few hours more of stop/go driving over the last 2 days, checked the level of the fluid, and ...... VOILA! Exact amount it should have been. Thanks for saving me hundreds on radiator/pump/thermostat. I think the cap and BlueDevil did the trick. Thanks again.
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'03 Wrangler X
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